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Punjab Decides To Scrap Khalsa University Act

CHANDIGARH – The Punjab government has decided to scrap the controversial Khalsa University Act, 2016, “to save the Khalsa College from losing its heritage status by falling prey to privatisation”.

On the other hand, the Khalsa College Governing Council (KCGC) is contemplating to take legal recourse against the government move.

A decision to this effect was taken by the state cabinet at a meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh here on Wednesday. Amarinder had earlier promised to protect the glorious legacy of Khalsa College, Amritsar, one of oldest educational institutes in the country with a heritage status, an official spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the cabinet termed as appalling the move by the Khalsa College Society “to destroy its rich heritage status” by converting this prestigious institute into university.

Khalsa University, Amritsar, was established vide Khalsa University Act, 2016, by the previous SAD-BJP alliance government despite huge criticism from not only the residents of Amritsar but also from the alumni of the college and intellectuals of the state, the cabinet noted.

The university had commenced its first session in August last and currently around 300 students have been enrolled in various courses.

The cabinet decided there was no point in establishing an additional university in Amritsar, which already had several reputed institutes of higher learning.

The cabinet noted that taking away a chunk of land from Khalsa College to make a university would adversely affect the existence of Khalsa College. Further, the unique identity of its building would also be diminished, the council of ministers pointed out, expressing the view that in order to maintain the identity of Khalsa College, all properties attached to it should be kept intact, thus also preserving its architectural grandeur and marvel.

The move of the state government has put in jeopardy the future of existing batch of students who were to enter the second year of various professional courses.

Around 50 teaching and non-teaching staff members would lose the job. Recently, through an advertisement, the KCGC had appointed known academician Dr Gurmohan Walia as new Vice-Chancellor and had filled other prominent positions, including the Dean, Academics, through an advertisement.

It is learnt that KCGC has constituted its team for seeking legal opinion against the government’s move. KCGC spokesperson Dharminder Rataul said it was petty politics for which the students and staff members had paid the price.

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